Dale Gilliham wrote a brief but fascinating piece in 2018 which he titled, “The Laws of Wealth Creation.” Although he tilted the post towards stocks in the capital market as well as people with jobs, his thoughts are worth considering.

Law 1: Never spend more than you earn. In a society where “Our take home does not take us home” (ASUU), spending less than one earns is a tall order. However, there are people out there who have the discipline to stay within income. You begin to go outside what economists describe as consumption possibilities boundary when you lose that self-discipline. The current experience should be a great lesson that there are many things people can do without yet normal life goes on. If the unspent monies (during the lockdown) for daily pub crawling, movies, fuel consumption on nonessential journeys etc are added, it would be surprising how much can be saved (did someone say that would affect those businesses? Well, you will go back to them when you have good and sustained surplus).

 One way of avoiding spending in excess of income is to ask yourself, if this money were not there, would I not have been able to survive without this item? Why must you buy a second car when you have lived for the past five years with one? If the clothes you have can push you a few months further, why buy a new one? You cannot avoid rent, food and medicines but you can afford the daily trip to the snacks joint.

Law 2: Invest your savings. Mr. Dale expects at least 10% savings of salaries per month. Imagine that you are on N30, 000 per month and you squeeze your face and appetite and save N3,000 per month. Imagine that you use a bank far from your usual route and you don’t obtain ATM card for that account or you trust it with your staff cooperative society (the well-run ones are very good and reliable). In 12 months, you have N36, 000.  That can start a “table market” at the frontage of your residence (if you don’t have a jealous landlord). N30, 000 can start a fruit business while the N6000 is enough for a cut and join table plus containers plus initial transport money to locations that sell fruits for resale. Multiply above amount based on your salary and see the outcome (e.g. N10,000 per month from a salary of N100,000 pulls in N120, 000 which can buy a grass cutting machine, currently a money spinner at that level. Possibilities become realities when the first effort is made. Yes, small money begets small profit but it is still profit. The day you desperately need a N500 note to save your life is the day you realize that investment makes good sense.

Law 3: Keep your paws and mind away from that infant investment so it can grow. This is difficult if you are not working. But business is like a child; if you expect your one-year-old to generate money for you, then you are selling the child or involving yourself in child labour and both are criminal. Put a rein on your appetite till, as Dale says, returns on your investment are equal to your present salary. And for heaven’s sake don’t resign till above happens. I have several unpalatable experiences of going headlong into business when there was no standard source of funds for family upkeep.

One more thing;

A general advice came from my former Landlord and adopted father at Lagos. Chief Awofeso from Ijebu Ode said to me, my son, you must have business training before you start a business. Look at your Ibo brothers; they are apprenticed for years before going solo. My son who will take over from me is a shop hand in my photography business. The issue? One does not need a PhD to succeed in business but there is need to have some basic principles of business management in the world of today. The day of migration from trader in go-slow to multimillionaire via sheer sagacity are no longer there. Then, half penny could buy a rich meal; now half a thousand Naira may buy you a plate of garri and soup ‘without.’

Welcome to my blog on business for the man on the street – which may include you the big oga and big madam that require the ABCs of business in a complex, volatile environment like ours.

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